Face to face: Clive Wratten, CEO of CTI

How would you describe CTI and what it offers that’s different from the norm? 

Clive Wratten.
Clive Wratten.

CTI is a Travel Partnership Company (TPC). Describing ourselves as a TPC isn’t supposed to be a brand differentiator or gimmick – we firmly believe that the future of the business travel sector lies in a partnership-based approach. The days of being a mere transactor of business travel needs are fast fading.

By a travel partnership approach, we mean two things.

Firstly, a closer partnership with our clients. We have a proven process for understanding our clients’ DNA and their needs – not simply from a travel perspective, but their wider commercial objectives. Knowing this helps us to be good partners as we can provide relevant and timely advice on travel and host of related issues (e.g. security), and this itself means the travel options we present will be appropriate and cost-effective each time.

Second, through a series of partnerships with like-minded firms. This enables us to augment and enhance our offering, adding value for our clients and allows us to offer them products that cover the whole spectrum of the business travel experience rather than just the normal staples (flights and hotels). In the past 12 months alone, we’ve linked up with Concur, Victor for Business and AirRefund, and there are more partnerships in the pipeline.

Why did you decide to take the Travel Partnership Approach, rather than the TMC approach?

We believe the traditional model adopted by many business travel companies is dying. A partnership based approach is the right one to ensure we can offer our clients added value – both now and into the future.

What type of clients are you working with and how does your partnership with them work?

CTI works with a wide range of clients – from major multinationals employing tens of thousands of people, to SMEs with teams of less than 10. For us, the size of the client isn’t important, it’s all about understanding the DNA of their business and how we can best add value. Our partnership approach enables us to do that.

What common feedback do you receive that tells you CTI is ‘getting it right’?

It’s relatively early days as we have only been moving in this direction for a year. However, in that time alone, clients are noticing the difference and the value it brings, and the feedback we are receiving makes it clear that our strategy is the right one.

How have you adapted your business model to current business travel and industry trends/challenges/opportunities?

The way we’ve adopted our strategy over the past year is enabling us to respond better to both industry trends and the needs of business travellers. We see our role as consultants and advisers to our clients. The biggest challenge for the industry at the moment is Brexit, of which the consequences are not yet entirely clear, so keeping our clients updated and advised is crucially important. Equally, the opportunity to drive greater custom and customer value through an augmented suited of travel is an integral part of our partnership approach.

What’s next for CTI?

We’ve set out our strategy for the future and that partnership based approach is our direction of travel in the long term. In the short term, there will be further partnership announcements shortly, as well as an evolution of our product offering to ensure we offer the greatest value possible.

 

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